President and CEO of Plexus Systems Inc. in Auburn Hills. Plexus has developed Plexus Online, an on-demand software for manufacturing. Since taking the helm of Plexus in early 2006, Symonds has driven significant sales growth and earned industry recognition. During his tenure, Plexus has been named Automation Alley's 2006 emerging technology company of the year and 2007 technology company of the year; the company was ninth on the Crain's Detroit Business list of the fastest growing companies in Southeast Michigan; and has been one of Start IT's "hottest companies" for the past two years. In his more than two decades in information technology and manufacturing prior to joining Plexus, Symonds started several successful IT consulting businesses where he led projects in ERP implementation, sales force automation, data warehousing, and intranet development and deployment. Symonds serves on the Precision Metalforming Association board of directors and is one of 50 people worldwide named to Microsoft's commerce partner advisory board. He is a CPA, and is certified in production and inventory management (CPIM) by APICS. He began his career at Arthur Andersen after earning his MBA from Cornell University and his bachelor's degree from the University of Rochester.

WHERE BORN: "In the middle of nowhere in upstate New York, a small town called Norwich."

MOST INFLUENTIAL PERSONS: "My parents. They didn't have a lot growing up but they inspired a work ethic in me and encouraged me. And Milton Friedman, the free market economist. I was an economics undergrad, and he really had an impact on my outlook on life and business."

LAST BOOK READ: "John Adams by David McCullough. I wanted to read it before I saw the miniseries. It got me excited to read other books about the same period of time. Reading how the country gelled was fascinating."

WORDS THAT DESCRIBE ME: "My friends and colleagues say I am 'competitive, energetic and passionate.'"

WHERE MY FIELD/INDUSTRY IS HEADED: "Our company is really creating disruptive change in enterprise business software. What's happening is that it just makes sense to have software as a service for manufacturers. It's where everything is headed. I lived in Boston when the minicomputer makers disappeared overnight. I think the same might happen in midmarket software. We're helping businesses streamline and compete on a global scale."

FAVORITE TECHNOLOGICAL GADGET: "It's very common but my laptop with wireless. My wife says it's never more than five feet from me."

FAVORITE PLACE: "On a sailboat in the British Virgin Islands."

FAVORITE HOBBIES: "Tennis, sailing, and woodworking."

FAVORITE FOOD: "Deep fried turkey with all the trimmings and key lime pie for dessert."

MY HIDDEN TALENT: "When I'm motivated, I can write a pretty decent poem. I wrote one for my daughter's 16th birthday and other big events."

HOW I WANT TO BE REMEMBERED: "He loved his family, was a good friend, and made a positive difference in his family, business, and community."